Matt Hardy recently posted the following on his Facebook page in regards to his comments that he pioneered the rise of social media in professional wrestling, including inspiring Zack Ryder.
“I saw an article online from an interview I did where @ZackRyder’s name was brought up. I never took any credit for @ZackRyder’s professional success that he created himself. I did mention that when Zack was in limbo direction-wise in WWE between characters that we had a conversation about self-promotion. We talked about his YouTube videos and the whole idea of using them to build a following, garner attention, and get himself on WWE’s creative radar. I only suggested to Zack to be creative, be different, and try to create a character that was an extension of himself and then help people understand it on his own, with whatever forums he had to work with. I know Adam (Edge) also gave Zack ideas and suggestions about getting back in the WWE TV mix. Zack’s a good dude and has always been a hard-worker who is very passionate and dedicated to his craft of sports entertainment. Regardless of who suggested this theory to him, whether it was me, Edge, or anyone else, Zack Ryder is the one who actually EXECUTED it and made it work.
“Here’s where I step up for myself though, and call things like I see them. I do feel like I played a major role in ushering in the modern era of “Pro Wrestlers utilizing the Internet/Social Media” to develop and familiarize people with their personality/character. I may not have been the first professional wrestler to use the Internet/Social Media, but no one utilized it as powerfully as I did in 2005 after I was released from WWE. I admit, I addressed personal issues publicly out of anger in the beginning, which was a bad decision. But most people still feel that the repercussions that followed, which led to me being fired, were probably too severe for my actual actions. After that, I was brutally open with my fans, and I told my story globally via the world wide web, and men and women worldwide identified and related with me. The chants of “We Want Matt” soon went viral because the men and women that had heard my story were so connected with me. The WWE then hired me back and the wrestling fans got what that wanted and it all became part of a very emotional WWE television story. The whole scenario was made possible because of the Internet and the Social Media platforms I utilized to tell my story and let people know who Matt Hardy was at the time. I may not have been the first pro wrestler to use the internet, but NO ONE had ever used the internet that powerfully and reached and connected to so many people emotionally because of it. Even thought I EXECUTED the idea via the internet, the people that backed me made it a realization and a success. God bless all of those amazing people that supported me during that time. The support was absolutely overwhelming, and I could never thank all those people enough.
“With that said, since then people have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly from me through the internet and Social Media. I’ve lived the majority of my life as an open book, and that’s been both beneficial and detrimental at times for me. It’s taken long enough, but after many mistakes, trials and tribulations, I can say with 100% confidence-I’m on the pulse of a happy and healthy life. And I will never deviated from my current path again-in neither the real world, or the cyber world.